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Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

One thing that you may not know about me, is that I am a huge history buff. Learning about human endeavors from a time gone by just fascinates me. I wanted to be an archeologist when I was a kid and I love nothing more than seeking out historical sites when we travel. History and architecture: they're my two big things. It's partly why I'm a total city girl. I love exploring beautiful natural sites, but it's the mark that humans from eras past have left on this world that truly fascinates me. Historical buildings, ruins, sites where important events happened... these are the things that really inspire me when we travel.

Of course, as an Australian much of my life has been spent living in places where there is a wealth of oral history, but not much in the way of physical history. No historical structures, no temples to ancient gods, no long lost ruins... There are the occasional rock paintings and canoe trees, but Australia is a big country and these permanent historical reminders tend to be far and few between. Plus they tend to be located in rather remote places. When it comes to buildings, anything built in the1800s is considered old back home. Living in California and now Colorado it's pretty much the same. While I do find those Victorian or gold rush era buildings interesting, it's earlier history that really gets me. It's one of the reasons I loved living in Europe so much. I didn't have to look far to find medieval buildings, Roman ruins or prehistoric temples. It was a dream come true! 

With international travel off the table for the foreseeable future I had figured that visiting historical sites would be limited to watching documentaries for now. But then I learned about a historical site right here in Colorado that I couldn't wait to visit. 

Have you heard of the Manitou Cliff Dwellings? Located just near Colorado Springs these reconstructed ancient dwellings built into a red sandstone cliff face were home to the Anasazi over 700 years ago. Much like the more famous cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde National Park, these ancient homes serve as a reminder of the long human history in the South West. 

The kids and I visited Manitou Cliff Dwellings over Spring break back in late March and I'm so excited to share our visit with you here on Little Hiccups. 

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Beehive Piñata DIY

For Mathilde's recent bee themed birthday party I made a beehive piñata. If you've been here a while you'll know that making piñatas is one of my favorite things. I find the repetitive work very relaxing and I love that it gives me a creative outlet. 

Most piñatas that I make for the girls are made from cardboard. This type of piñata is super easy to make and I can usually get one made in just a few hours - which is great because I'm totally a last minute crafter! For Mathilde's beehive piñata, however, I went with a good old balloon and papier-mâché style. These are also easy to make but are much more time consuming. The crafting itself doesn't take all that long, but the drying time between each layer means that I need to allow at least three days for the whole project.

I've shared a simple papier-mâché piñata DIY here in the past (you can see it here) but it was a decade ago so I figured it was time for an updated DIY with better photos!

Here's how to make your own papier-mâché piñata...

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Honey Crackles Recipe

For Mathilde's recent bee themed birthday party I made honey crackles; a classic Australian treat found at kids' birthday parties all over the country. The honey crackles fit in perfectly with the bee theme and they reminded me of my own childhood. They're one of those party treats that I loved as a kid but had kind of forgotten about seeing as they're not common here in the US. 

I had actually never made honey crackles myself before, or at least not as an adult, but they're super easy to make and they're delicious so I thought I'd share the recipe with you today. 

So just what is a honey crackle, I hear you ask. Think of a rice krispies treat, but instead of rice krispies and marshmallow they're made with corn flakes and honey. Instead of being made in a flat shape they're baked in cupcake liners. Fun aside, cupcake liners are known pattypans in Australia and I actually didn't know that the word wasn't used here in the US until I looked it up to check for this post and found that a "pattypan" in the US is apparently a type of small squash. You learn something new every day!

Another thing that I learned, is that in some parts of Australia people call honey crackles "honey joys". I've never heard that name before, but apparently it's a thing. It's wrong, but it's a thing. Ha! 

Anyway... onto the recipe!

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Mathilde's 7th Birthday

My baby is seven! 

This past Saturday was Mathilde's seventh birthday. We celebrated with a small party on Sunday with just our family and our neighbor. I had originally planned to hold the party on Mathilde's actual birthday but Ava came down with covid-like symptoms and we had to wait for her test results - which oddly came through at 11pm Friday. I guess those covid testers are working around the clock! Anyway, by then I had figured we wouldn't know Ava's test results until Saturday and pushed the party out to Sunday. It gave me an extra day to get everything ready, so that was a bonus.

Despite her party being small, Mathilde was still keen to pick a theme for her celebration. She went through quite a few (Minecraft, Slime Rancher, Among Us, bread (?)...) before she settled on bees as her theme. To go along with the theme I made a beehive piñata, honey crackles as treats, and decorated her cake (badly!) with a honeycomb pattern.  

Friday, 23 April 2021

Earth Illuminated

 Happy Earth Day!

Today I'm sharing a fun exhibition that merges three of my favorite things: Mother Nature, immersive art and photography! You know I love a good excuse for taking lots of pics!

Earth Illuminated is an immersive art exhibition in Denver that focuses on the beauty of nature and the impact that humans have on the environment. With oversized insect and plant sculptures, floral wall panels, thought provoking murals, neon lights, honeycomb walls, and projections, there's something fun to see and experience at every turn.

Lola, Mathilde and I visited Earth Illuminated last week and we had a blast checking out all of the installations, and as always, I took a gazillion photos to share with you! Let's take a look...

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Superior Prairie Dogs

If you've been following along for a while you'll know that I'm a big fan of scavenger hunts, especially when it involves public art. So when I learned about the painted prairie dog sculptures dotted around nearby Superior last year, I knew it was definitely something I needed to check out with the kids.

Like the hearts in San Francisco, and the bears in Boulder's Chautauqua Park, these prairie dog sculptures feature colorful designs by local artists and add a touch of whimsy to the area. 

The prairie dogs are all located within the town of Superior and can easily be found in just a few hours, but we spread our search out over quite a few months, finding one or two prairie dogs here and there while out. We've finally found them all, so today I'm sharing them here with you. If you're following along on Instagram you're likely seen a few of them over there already. If you're not following along on Instagram, click here to follow. I'm a little better at staying up to date over there!

So, without further ado, here are all the Superior prairie dogs. I've listed them in the same order they appear on the map, which you can download here.

Shaving Cream Easter Eggs

One last Easter post before the season is over...

Did you dye Easter eggs this year? We usually go with the traditional dipping eggs into dye technique, but this year we decided to try something different that I had seen online. This year we colored our eggs with shaving cream!

Ok, so the shaving cream itself didn't color the eggs itself, but it did work as a handy carrier for the food coloring that we used. And it was fun to use! 

Now, I will be the first to admit that our eggs didn't come out quite as expected, but it was still such a fun activity that I wanted to share it here with you anyway. When it comes to art and creativity, sometimes the process is just as important as the outcome, and that's especially true when the process is fun! This sure was a fun, and rather messy, process! The messy processes are always the best ones, right? 

The girls had a blast decorating their eggs, and while I'm sure they would've loved to have seen the marbled patterns from the shaving cream appear exactly the same on their eggs, they were still perfectly happy with how they turned out. I've since learned a few tips and tricks that we'll try out next time, so expect to see us getting messy with shaving cream and food dye again next Easter!

Ok, let's take a look at how to make shaving cream eggs...
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